TODAY’S – ErdoIan and prominent business group TuSIAD clash yet again

ErdoIan and prominent business group TuSIAD clash yet againIn the latest of a series of disputes with the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmenand#39s Association (TuSIAD) President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan said this week that he would not attend TuSIAD meetings, after the associationand#39s chairman said the body works with the prime minister, not the president.andldquoNow that we [the presidentand#39s office] are not their interlocutor, we will not attend their meetings,andrdquo ErdoIan said during a meeting with the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-II), the Hurriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

His statements came after TuSIAD Chairman Haluk Dinerand#39s interview with the same daily on Monday. In response to a question during the interview about relations between President ErdoIan and TUSIAD, Diner stated that TUSIAD does not have any problem with the president and that it works with the prime minister and ministers whose business is related to the organizationand#39s efforts, not the president.

ErdoIan has lashed out at TuSIAD on several occasions, each time vowing to avoid the groupand#39s events. After each incident, ErdoIan backpedaled and participated in a TuSIAD meeting, where he continued to stoke tension.

TuSIAD members have deflected the criticism from ErdoIan, calling on the president to focus on solving problems in the economy.During the interview Diner also expressed his disagreement with a number of government policies.

He said he does not see any andldquoparallel structureandrdquo within the state as is asserted by pro-government circles, that there is no impartial and independent judiciary in Turkey and that TuSIAD does not believe that the Gezi protests — nationwide street protests that erupted in May 2013 over the governmentand#39s plan to demolish a park in Istanbuland#39s Taksim district — and the Dec. 17 investigations were andldquocoup attemptsandrdquo against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

ErdoIanand#39s relations with TuSIAD, known as the business group representing Turkeyand#39s secular elite, a segment of society that generally opposes the ruling party, have been sour for some time, becoming increasingly tense after the Gezi protests. In January, following then-Chairman Muharrem YIlmazand#39s remarks on the importance of the rule of law for foreign investors during a speech at a TuSIAD general assembly, ErdoIan called YIlmaz and TuSIAD andldquotraitors,andrdquo which led to a further deterioration of relations.

TuSIADand#39s member and CEO of Turkeyand#39s largest conglomerate, Ko Holding, Mustafa Ko, said regarding ErdoIanand#39s strong criticism of the business world that andldquoit would be inappropriate to react [to his criticism] given that [ErdoIan] was invited as a guest.andrdquoTuSIAD and other prominent business organizations have repeatedly warned that a growing external perception that Turkey is becoming increasingly authoritarian and declining to respect the rule of law will scare away potential foreign investors and generally harm the economy.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman